We live in a competitive world. Examples of this are all around us, especially for those of us that follow sports. It doesn’t matter if we are Hawkeye or Cyclone fans, Twins or Cub fans; we all want our team to be the best. For our favorite sport teams to be successful, they need to have an advantage over their rivals. These advantages could be attributed to a number of things, but it usually comes down to people.
The business world is a competitive world as well and Stellar Industries competes with many other companies both domestically and internationally. I had the opportunity to see a number of our competitors’ products this past week as I attended the Waste Expo trade show in Las Vegas. On exhibit in our booth were a Stellar® Shuttle hooklift on a Ford F750, a Stellar® Container Handler mounted on a Ford F750 for Republic Waste, and a Stellar® cable hoist and automatic tarping system mounted on a Kenworth for Sprint Waste of Houston, TX. While the products in our display looked great, so did similar products in other booths across the show floor. Besides the Stellar Shuttle hooklift in our booth, there were another 8 competitive units on display. The same could be said of the cable hoist and of the automatic tarping system, plenty of other producers to choose from.
So, with so many products to choose from, what sets our products apart from our competitors’ products? I can proudly say that our designs are top notch. However, our competitors make similar claims about their own products. The fit and finish of our display units were great. But the rest of the trucks on display were “show” quality as well. While the obvious differentiator amongst competitive makes and models are the physical characteristics of the products, it is the team behind these products that make the real difference at the end of the day. I’m proud to say that we have a team that none of our competitors can match.
Teamwork is critical in all facets of producing our products. And it is not just the working together that defines a strong team. A truly great team will excel in communication between team members. For us to be a successful team here at Stellar, communication amongst ourselves is critical to our success. I’m not referring to idle chat but words of assistance to our fellow employee. How to lay down a better weld, secure a better routing for wiring on a chassis, or get better results on a complicated paint job are examples of the type of conversations that need to occur in a successful team environment. Even more important is to make sure information gets passed on to fellow team members involved in other aspects of the organization that need to hear input from other players on our team. It is important for our engineering staff to listen and respond to input from our sales staff regarding customer needs and how they use our product so we can improve product design to better suit the users’ needs. It is important for sales and engineering to listen to our fabricators and installers to make sure that what is on the sales order is a product that can actually be built. It is important for ALL of us to communicate with our co-workers if we ever see a potential quality issue with any product. It is important that communication move freely up and down our organization so that we can provide our customers the best products possible that will in turn provide them years of trouble-free service.
What sets a successful team apart from a mediocre team, is the people. We have a successful team here at Stellar, but to stay ahead of our competition we need to continually strive to improve and build upon those strengths that have made us a successful company. Open and constructive communication is a known quality of successful teams. The best way to improve as a team is to improve our communications. To stay ahead of our competition, we need to continue to hone our skills as a team.
Stellar has always been a big supporter of the various associations that serve our different markets where we sell. They in turn have offered a plethora of useful information and assistance to us to help us produce a quality product that meets industry standards, as well as helping us reach the end user through trade shows and other events.
It’s always nice to benefit from those relationships and participate in a win-win opportunity. One that I will mention today is the chance to work with the Tire Industry Association (TIA) to host three separate Basic Farm Tire Service (FTS) training classes here at our facility in Garner. Over the 3-day course, participants will have classroom and hands-on training to learn the skills needed for servicing farm, agricultural and construction tire and wheel assemblies. It is a certificate program for the participants.
Typically, in the past, these sessions were held at various association members’ tire shops. While they make it work as best they can, most tire shops are not equipped with facilities to accommodate 15 attendees in a comfortable classroom setting.
Travis Glidden, one of our knowledgeable tire service regional sales manager’s, has been instrumental in these training classes in the past, taking one of our demo units to the location and assisting with the class. He had the idea of us hosting the class here in Garner for TIA. The association was grateful for the offer, and took us up on it since we have a conference room large enough to accommodate the group, and the equipment and space needed for the hands-on portion.
The first class is scheduled for the middle of June and has already filled up. It is unprecedented to be sold out this early, according to the TIA class coordinator. Another class is scheduled for mid-July and the third class in mid-August.
To learn more about the class, visit our home page and click on the FTS link in the Spotlight section of the page, or visit www.tireindustry.org and select Training in the navigation bar.
What a great opportunity to come to Garner- the tire truck manufacturing capital of the world. The attendees will not only learn the safe and proper way to change farm tires and get certified but they’ll get to see the facility where tire service trucks are made.
April Fool’s Day is the first Day of April and is traditionally a day of practical jokes and harmless pranks. This can be a lot of fun and there are those that go to great lengths to pull off a good joke or prank in the pursuit of a good laugh. However, when it comes to delivering customer expectations, there is no room for fooling around. Everybody in a customer centric organization is responsible for keeping the customer satisfied and that is how to make a customer smile. This means internal as well as external customers for we should treat both the same. Think about it, if we are all in the habit of responding to our fellow employees in a customer like fashion, just how much better will we be when the external customer is involved? And of course, in a customer centric organization, all activity has the end result of making the external customer smile.
So Happy April Fool’s Day – have some fun, make people laugh and keep the customer smiling J
Stellar Industries is fortunate to be a successful ESOP company. When I say successful, I mean successful in a number of ways. We are successful in being a profitable company that consistently brings positive returns to our shareholders. However this quality should be present in any well run company. At Stellar Industries, I feel the success we have achieved in educating every employee of the importance of being an owner is our real success.
When every employee understands the importance of working together to minimize mistakes and maximize quality all while working to maintain a safe environment, management of the enterprise takes on a different role. Management’s role at Stellar Industries is one of reinforcing the benefits of ownership through the ESOP and emphasizing the positive outcomes that come from a positive workforce.
We have a great crew here at Stellar. That’s what makes us the successful company that we have become and validates our advertising tagline of “Our People, Our Products”.
Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again where we reflect on how the last 12 months went and what we want to change for the 12 months ahead. Many a resolution is established and then promptly forgotten in January as we make excuses to ourselves why we can’t begin yet and then slip back into our old habits. And why do we wait for a new calendar year to begin? Ok, financial goals based on fiscal tax calendars are understandable, but why wait for personal or business behaviors targeted at self-improvement? Think about it, anytime is a good time to set on a path of improvement whether it be personally or business related. So go ahead, set those goals, not just today, but every day that a new goal makes sense to establish. Let’s say we realize in March, June, September or even in December that our sales pitch is stale and delivered monotonously, then that is a good time to establish a goal to change. Or how about in April or July we realize our days are chocked full of too many activities and not enough results? Resolve to change right then and there – lean out your activities to those driving results and perhaps look for new value added activities.
So again I say, Happy New Year! Make your resolutions today, tomorrow and any day that it makes sense. You just may find your personal, philanthropic and business lives become more enjoyable and productive if we focus on continual improvements and not just annual goals.